Born Confused

Born Confused

4.6 99
by Tanuja Desai Hidier, Marguerite Gavin
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

Dimple doesn't know what to think. Her parents are from India, and she's spent years rebelling against their customs. Now everything from India is suddenly hip - even her best friend Gwyn has a bindi dot as an accessory. To make matters worse, Dimple's parents are trying to set her up with a "suitable boy." Their first meeting is a disaster - the boy is way too…  See more details below

Overview

Dimple doesn't know what to think. Her parents are from India, and she's spent years rebelling against their customs. Now everything from India is suddenly hip - even her best friend Gwyn has a bindi dot as an accessory. To make matters worse, Dimple's parents are trying to set her up with a "suitable boy." Their first meeting is a disaster - the boy is way too soft-spoken. But then she bumps into the boy again at a club - where he is the DJ. Suddenly, the "suitable" boy is actually suitable - because of his sheer unsuitability. Dimple is about to find out - in a comedic way - about balancing her culture with her confusion.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
"An engrossing, personal account of the Indian-American experience through the eyes of a New Jersey teen," wrote PW in a boxed review. "On one level, the book explores the growing pains, rebellious phases, peer pressures and first love experienced universally by teens. On a deeper level, it celebrates a harmonious blending of cultures as it traces one adolescent's bumpy trek toward self-actualization." Ages 13-up. (July) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
VOYA
Sixteen-year-old Dimple Lala, the only child of loving East Indian parents, has a good life. Dimple is confused about her identity, however, and despite her passion for photography, she lacks the self-confidence to pursue it. Her parents want her to embrace her Indian heritage, but because she has always lived in New Jersey, Dimple wants to be more American, more like her best friend Gwyn. When Dimple's parents set her up with Karsh Kapoor, the son of a family friend, she goes through with the uneventful meeting for her parents' sake. Later, in a chance meeting at a club, Dimple is surprised to discover that she likes Karsh. When Gwyn decides to go after Karsh, Dimple feels that she is no competition for her vivacious friend. Her interest in Karsh sparks a need to know more about her heritage, and Dimple gets involved in the local South Asian community. Dimple finds other South Asian Americans who are struggling with identity issues, including a lesbian couple and a drag queen, and she no longer feels like a misfit. As Dimple becomes more comfortable in her own skin, she moves from black-and-white to color photography, realizes she loves Karsh, and has a falling-out with Gwyn. Dimple's happy ending is a little too tidy, particularly her fast reunion with Gwyn, and therefore is a bit unbelievable. An unusual and delightful coming-of-age story, it begins rather slowly, but Desai Hidier's vivid descriptions and sense of humor will hold the attention of readers, and they will cheer on Dimple. VOYA CODES: 4Q 3P J S (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses; Will appeal with pushing; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12). 2002, Scholastic,432p,
— Carolyn Carpan
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up-Dimple Lala has spent her entire life trying to fit in. In India, she is too American, while in America she feels unable to conform, largely because of her parents' efforts to educate and involve her in Indian culture. By her 17th birthday, she feels incapable of making anyone happy and is hopelessly confused as to where she belongs. Her parents are unhappy about her obsession with photography and her dating activities, while Dimple herself feels that her best friend, Gwyn, is either ignoring her for a new boyfriend or trying to usurp Dimple's family. Her parents come up with what they think is a perfect solution-they introduce her to Karsh, a suitable boy. Dimple is turned off at the thought. Just when she is sure that things can't get more complicated, she meets him again, now involved in activities that would render him completely unsuitable to her parents but that interest her. By this time Gwyn decides that he seems like the perfect boyfriend for her and Dimple ends up with a number of tricky situations. This involving story, filled with detail about the protagonist's life and background, will reward its readers. The family background and richness in cultural information add a new level to the familiar girl-meets-boy story. Teens will be rooting for Dimple and her quest to find her own place in her family and country.-Betsy Fraser, Calgary Public Library, Canada Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
An Indian-American teen experiences a dizzying summer chasing boys, her best friend, and her identity. Dimple Lala is accustomed to being one of only two Indians in her suburban New Jersey high school, but custom does not lead to comfort, and she feels acutely that she has no real place either in the Indian community of her parents or the American world of her peers. When her best friend Gwyn, blonde, beautiful, and endlessly charismatic, fixes her up with a college boy for her 17th birthday and she becomes monumentally, stinking drunk, her parents decide to take drastic action in the form of an arranged introduction to a "suitable boy." Dimple does her best to fend off their good intentions, but, too late, she finds herself falling in love, almost against her will, with said suitable boy, who actually spins a mean disc as a nightclub DJ. Dimple emerges as a smart, funny, and original voice whose familial, friendship, and identity struggles are both universal and beautifully specific. Newcomer Desai Hidier crafts a frequently hilarious narrative whose familiar teen-quest-for-identity plot is peopled with highly distinctive and likable characters and is overlaid with a fearless and glorious sense of linguistic possibilities that (along with some idiosyncratic punctuation) seems positively Joyceian. The wordplay is fairly simple at first, but as the plot progresses and Dimple’s feelings and understandings become more complex, the language becomes increasingly metaphorical and abstract. On a solo nighttime photographic tour through New York, Dimple comes close to a cultural epiphany, and the descriptive language takes off. At one point she describes exiting the New York subway: "From a swifttunnel of cut blackness and counterfeit light through a yellowy pool of candle wax turnstiled, metal still muggy to the touch from that rush of hungering hands and up the stairs and out the narrow door into that greater darkness but this one enormously ongoing and violently adorned." If the plot is a tad predictable, if the love interest is just about too good to be true—who cares? The exuberant, almost psychedelic linguistic riffs will catch readers up in a breathtaking experience that is beyond virtually anything being published for teens today. (Fiction. YA)
From the Publisher

Dimple Lala is an ABCD, American Born Confused Desi, a charming, articulate Indian teen who spends her seventeenth summer trying to find herself with both her American friends and her loving immigrant parents who are still steeped in India's traditions and language. Growing up in Springfield, New York, down the street from her blonde, blue-eyed "supertwin," Gwyn, Dimple feels American, and she's rebellious when her parents start talking about finding her "a suitable boy." The arranged meeting with Karsh, a NYU student and son of Indian friends, is predictably strained and frustrating. "It's like Titanic. Without the romance," she confides to Gwyn, a comment she will rue all summer as her best friend gradually takes "the suitable boy." As Gwyn and Karsh move on, Dimple loses herself in her family and her background, only to find her many-cultured self, as well as a stronger, different friendship and "a suitable boy." Dimple is a photographer. Her "third eye" is always with her, and her narrative is a feast for the senses, creating a reading experience that is unusual in YA literature today. Yet this will not be an easy read. While it is the story of every teen, the writing is dense and detailed, with a vocabulary and references that will challenge readers. It's the careful choice of every word that marks this reading experience.--Booklist, December 15 2002-- boxed review

Dimple Lala has spent her entire life trying to fit in. In India, she is too American, while in America she feels unable to conform, largely because of her parents' efforts to educate and involve her in Indian culture. By her 17th birthday, she feels incapable of making anyone happy and is hopelessly confused as to where she belongs. Her parents are unhappy about her obsession with photography and her dating activities, while Dimple herself feels that her best friend, Gwyn, is either ignoring her for a new boyfriend or trying to usurp Dimple's family. Her parents come up with what they think is a perfect solution-they introduce her to Karsh, a suitable boy. Dimple is turned off at the thought. Just when she is sure that things can't get more complicated, she meets him again, now involved in activities that would render him completely unsuitable to her parents but that interest her. By this time Gwyn decides that he seems like the perfect boyfriend for her and Dimple ends up with a number of tricky situations. This involving story, filled with detail about the protagonist's life and background, will reward its readers. The family background and richness in cultural information add a new level to the familiar girl-meets-boy story. Teens will be rooting for Dimple and her quest to find her own place in her family and country.--School Library Journal, December 2002

In this enlightening first novel, Hidier offers readers an engrossing, personal account of the Indian-American experience through the eyes of an insightful narrator. Dimple Lala, a New Jersey teen interested in photography, has been confused about her identity since she entered the world the "wrong way," causing her mother "twelve treacherous hours of painful labor." Her fascination with photography reveals Dimple's keen sense of perception as well as her role as an observer rather than a participant. "Not quite Indian, and not quite American," Dimple unsuccessfully tries to blend in, riding on the coattails of her blue-eyed, blonde best friend, Gwyn. The author nimbly describes the shared outsider status that drew together the two, "the rich little girl who lived like an orphan and the brown little girl who existed as if she were still umbilically attached to her parents." During Dimple's 17th year, however, the tables suddenly turn when Dimple's parents introduce her to Karsh Kapoor, the son of their close friends from India. Through their meeting, the author reveals Dimple's mother's own secret creative aspirations (to become a dancer in her youth) as well a

Children's Literature - Paula McMillen
Dimple Lala is one of only two East Indian students in her suburban New Jersey high school and she is forever trying to fit in by being more like her “American” peers. Her icon is long-time best friend, tall, blonde, blue-eyed Gwyn. The summer between junior and senior years presents a wealth of challenges for Dimple. Dimple is madly trying to escape the clutches of the “marriage mafia” she sees her parents to be. Gwyn wants to be like Dimple and does everything she can to appropriate Dimple’s East Indian customs, her family and, finally, the “suitable boy” Dimple’s parents have picked out for her. This book is filled with poignant insights and occasionally lyrical writing, but it is about 200 pages too long, and in many ways, too predictable. There is a heavy reliance on East Indian terms, without a glossary provided, which often makes getting the sense of the text a challenge. The frequent over-the-top and lengthy strings of made-up adjectives and adverbs become wearing in short order. Although there is much of value here, the gems of wisdom are buried in verbiage. It will be a hard sell to all but the most dedicated readers. Reviewer: Paula McMillen, Ph.D.; Ages 14 up.

Read More

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780786170807
Publisher:
Blackstone Audio, Inc.
Publication date:
05/28/2006
Edition description:
19311 Blackstone
Product dimensions:
6.60(w) x 6.10(h) x 1.17(d)
Age Range:
14 - 17 Years

Meet the Author

Tanuja Desai Hidier was born and raised in the United States. She has worked as a filmmaker and a magazine editor. She now lives in England where she is the lead singer/lyricist in a rock band.

Marguerite Gavin grew up on the Chesapeake Bay. She holds an M. F. A. in acting and a B. F. A. in theater. An actress working in theater and audiobook narration, she is also artistic director of a youth theater program. She lives in the Washington, D. C., area.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >